By Ian GormelyMike O'Neill and Dave Ullrich have played together sporadically over the 14 years since the Inbreds originally folded. So their reemergence for Canadian Music Week was less a full-blown reunion and more a rare one-off show, their first in Toronto in seven years.
Strutting onto the sparse stage to massive applause, the duo wasted no time getting to work, and halfway through their first song, O'Neill was grinning ear to ear. "Why are you all paying so much attention?" he asked at one point. Ullrich played MC, introducing songs while giving some nice context to their origins. "Prince," from their debut Hilario, was the first song the pair ever recorded, Ullrich informed the crowd, before the pair launched into the old favourite.
Despite the time away from one another, the Inbreds quickly found their groove, proving that O'Neill's melodic bass chops and heartfelt croon haven't aged a day. At one point, Cuff the Duke's Wayne Petti was brought out to help bulk up the sound, revealing how similar his and O'Neill's voices are. And no stone was left unturned, with the Inbreds hitting every period of their too-brief career, including the excellent 1998 swan song Winning Hearts.
They finished their set with a massive crowd sing-along to "Any Sense of Time," only to re-emerge with Ullrich clad in a '70s Vegas Elvis getup. He and O'Neill switched places for "The Runaround" then switched back to end the night with "Amelia Earhart." With no big money, tour or new recordings mucking up the proceedings, the Inbreds' set was a great nostalgia trip with no hang-ups. Let's hope they re-emerge from their shell sooner rather than later.